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New Beacon Company Brings Intelligence to In-Flight Entertainment, Banks

Conichiwa, a spinoff of German hotel app firm conichi, is providing systems that recognize an individual or item based on beacon transmissions, and can thus personalize service or improve efficiency.
By Claire Swedberg
Feb 24, 2017

German Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)-powered hotel app company conichi has launched a new firm—based on its success with hotel-based solutions—that aims for a larger market beyond hospitality. Conichiwa, a spinoff of conichi, intends to serve the needs of its customers, such as aerospace companies, for inflight entertainment systems, as well as banks, retailers, museums, events managers and logistics providers. ("Konnichiwa," in Japanese, means "hello.")

Conichi was founded in 2013 to provide a smart hotel experience. Its founders sought a system to make hotel check-in and checkout faster and more convenient for guests. The company says its inspiration comes from nature—specifically, from the jackdaw, a bird known to recognize faces. The aim of the conichi technology was to bring to the hotel industry that ability to automatically recognize customers or regular visitors at an establishment.

Conichiwa's Leo Klattenhoff
The BLE-based solution from conichi enables a hotel to provide its guests with more personalized service and greater convenience, the company reports. The system includes beacons, installed around a hotel facility, that transmit data to BLE-enabled phones, as well as an app using a software development kit (SDK) from conichi. In that way, the hospitality company can recognize who has arrived at a hotel as soon as he or she walks through the door. The guest can then enjoy a more VIP-style service and be spared from having to stand in queues by being assigned to a room, with the room number displayed on his or her phone. Upon arriving at that room, the guest could use the BLE technology to unlock the door.

The system can also trigger payments at restaurants, bars or stores at a hotel. This could enable guests to quickly approve a payment, the company explains, and continue on their way without standing in line at the point of sale.

In 2015, conichi was contacted by an aerospace equipment and systems company that the company declines to name. It was interested in learning what the technology could provide beyond the hospitality market. The company makes inflight entertainment systems, and it began working with conichi to develop a system that could improve the flight experience for flight passengers.

As a result of this work, as well as conversations with companies in other sectors, the firm launched conichiwa as a solution provider beyond the hotel industry, says Leo Klattenhoff, conichiwa's business-development manager. "We've now made it possible for customers to integrate location-based payment, access-management and asset-tracking solutions into mobile apps," he says. "We've enabled customers to connect the physical world with the digital, and create interactive objects."

In the case of the aviation company, the BLE technology is aimed at enhancing the company's system for audio and video on demand, interactive games and other features. The solution being developed completed by April of this year, Klattenhoff reports.

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